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CHFA invests $2.36 billion in affordable housing in 2017

The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority invested a record $2.36 billion in affordable housing last year.

The organization helped more than 8,000 Coloradans become homeowners and supported the development or preservation of more than 6,000 units of affordable rental housing. Both figures are at the highest levels ever for CHFA, which was created in 1973.

“CHFA is a mission-based organization, so our production growth is directly aligned to the growing needs of those we serve,” says Cris White, CHFA’s executive director and CEO. “In the last three years, CHFA’s investment in affordable housing has increased 182 percent compared to 2011 through 2013, with 2017 being our most historic year yet in terms of production. This demonstrates that demand for affordable housing options in Colorado, whether purchasing or renting, is at an all-time high.”

To help Coloradans purchase homes affordably, CHFA offers 20-year fixed-rate home loan products at competitive rates, with options for down payment assistance. In addition to grants, CHFA last year launched down payment assistance in the form of a second mortgage. It also offers Mortgage Credit Certificates, a tax credit that can save homeowners 20 percent of their mortgage interest each year.

CHFA also sponsors statewide home buyer education classes, which reached the highest level of enrollment to date in 2017 with 13,224 households served.

To support the development or preservation of affordable rental housing in Colorado, CHFA allocates federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and also offers financing to developers. Last year, CHFA awarded $53.2 million in credits to support 4,397 units of affordable rental housing that will be built or preserved by undergoing renovations.

CHFA also invested $363.3 million in multifamily financing, bringing the total number of units supported last year with either loans or tax credits to 6,217, setting a new benchmark for total units supported by CHFA in one year.

“CHFA will continue to work with our communities and housing partners in 2018 and the years ahead to help make Colorado a more affordable place to live,” White said. “Identifying ways to leverage and increase resources for both for-sale and rental housing is key, along with preserving existing affordable rental housing stock.”
 

Civitas to lead design for 5280 Loop

The Downtown Denver Partnership has selected urban design and landscape architecture firm Civitas to lead the design effort for the 5280 Loop, a project that will transform how the public right of way is used in downtown Denver.

The 5280 Loop will link neighborhoods and connect people by bringing underused streets into the downtown experience and uniting urban life with Colorado’s outdoor culture.

Denver-based Civitas’ outcome-based approach also attracted nationally known public health expert and HealthxDesign founder Rupal Sanghvi to join the team.

“Given the scale of what’s happening economically in Denver and the openness of the city to exploring how to achieve healthier outcomes, the 5280 Loop has the potential for impacting a population of some magnitude,” says Sanghvi, who was intrigued by the project’s prospects of serving as a model for “thinking more upstream” in promoting health through the physical shape of how we live, work and play.

The partnership and the project team are asking the community to help reimagine just over five miles of center city streets into a uniquely Denver amenity that prioritizes people, culture, nature and health. The 5280 Loop will promote active modes of transportation and connect many vibrant and diverse neighborhoods and civic destinations through the great urban outdoors. A conceptual design plan will be completed by September 2018.

“Cities around the world are rethinking the traditional definition of a street to go beyond just moving vehicles,” says John Desmond, the partnership’s executive vice president for urban environment. “The 5280 Loop will be Denver’s answer on how to transform a network of our streets into iconic shared spaces that will continue to move people and connect neighborhoods. At the same time, they’ll promote community and celebrate the urban experience in an authentically Denver way.”

For more on the project click here.
 

Fund to help artists make spaces safe



Denver Arts & Venues has launched the Safe Creative Spaces Fund as an extension of the city’s Safe Occupancy Program in an effort to provide funding for improvements to buildings that are occupied by artists.

The program will provide $300,000 in need-based funding for creative space tenant safety and building improvements. Applications are being accepted online.

“We are committed to cultivating, sustaining and promoting our diverse artistic and creative industry, including that our artists have a safe, affordable space where they can live and work,” Mayor Michael Hancock says. “The Safe Occupancy Program and the Safe Creative Spaces Fund are designed to support our creative professionals with resources to get these live-work spaces up to code, keep them affordable and avoid further displacements.”

Funding will be administered through Jan. 17, 2020 and is available to tenant or owner applicants who own or run a creative space such as a live/work collective, a creative business or a creative assembly space in the City and County of Denver that is enrolled in the Safe Occupancy Program.

The funds will be administered through a partnership with RedLine, a nonprofit contemporary art center. RedLine also will facilitate support between artists and art businesses. Applicants are encouraged to contact Redline for free, confidential guidance before enrolling in the Safe Occupancy Program or applying for Safe Creative Spaces Funding.

“RedLine is very excited to collaborate with Denver Arts & Venues, the City of Denver and the greater arts and culture communities to help address the growing need for safe creative spaces in Denver,” says Louise Martorano, executive director of RedLine. “Both the Safe Occupancy Program and Safe Creative Space Fund represent two key initiatives that not only provide a path for security and stability for artists in creative spaces, but also the financial resources to make that path accessible.”
 

Family Jones distillery opens in LoHi

The Family Jones Spirit House has opened in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood.

The distillery at 3245 Osage St. is the result of a partnership between distiller Rob Masters and entrepreneurs Jack Pottle, Denielle Nadeau and Paul Tamburello, the developer behind the Olinger complex and Little Man Ice Cream. Justin Cucci, chef and owner of Root Down, Linger, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, Vital Root and El Five is also part of the team.

Located in a 2,000-square-foot space at 3245 Osage St., The Family Jones Distillery occupies the former Mancinelli’s Market building two doors from Root Down. Designed and built by tres birds workshop, the space pairs industrial elements with rich wood details. The roof was lifted to add a second-floor mezzanine where distillery operations are perched above a sunken, curvilinear, concrete bar. Guests enter the space through a large, square, woodent door made from reclaimed, on-site materials.

“This project has been a dream for several years,” Tamburello says. “The sharing of spirits and the idea of libation are part of many celebrations in life — whether it be celebrating the life of a loved one, toasting to new parents or even part of a liturgical service. It’s with this respect and knowledge that we enter this venture, crafting with care a family of spirits that will help people mark life’s special moments together.”

The 17-foot copper CARL still is where the blending begins. The Family Jones creates everything from vodka to gin and rum, as well as Stop Gap Whiskey, a house blend of whiskeys collected from Masters’ friends that will only be available at The Family Jones Spirit House during the distillery’s first years while The Family Jones’ house-distilled whiskey comes of age.

“We are making things that push the boundaries of a traditional cocktail bar,” Masters says. “We are putting our own spin on it. This is a distiller’s dream — to create all sorts of crazy things in small batches. It’s a test kitchen: If it doesn’t work, we can try something new.”
 

Colorado Enterprise Fund to participate in CO Impact Days

Colorado Enterprise Fund is among the 100 social ventures seeking “impact investments” that was chosen to meet with investors at CO Impact Days Social Venture Showcase Nov. 17.

The 100 ventures will convene at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for the second year of the “shark-tank for good” statewide marketplace for impact investing. The selected social ventures will showcase their investment opportunities to offer not only a financial return on the impact investor’s investment but also to offer solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

“We are so thrilled to again invite more than 200 investors and philanthropists to interact with these valuable social ventures,” says Dr. Stephanie Gripne, founder of the Impact Finance Center and creator of the CO Impact Days. “When these two groups of powerful movers and shakers share a room, there is no telling the good that will come. We’ve aimed to offer a diverse array of impact investments, with a goal that every investor will leave knowing that deal flow is not a Colorado impact investing problem.”

The goal of CO Impact Days is to catalyze $100 million in impact investments into Colorado social ventures in the next three years, and it is kicking off with CO Impact Days Nov. 15-17. The initiative is possible because Colorado is home to a number of national leaders in impact investing and a thriving and collaborative community of social venture entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, as well as philanthropists and investors who are committed to growing Colorado’s economy and creating good jobs.

“Funding from these impact investors will enable us to serve more Colorado businesses, which in turn will ultimately advance economic opportunity and prosperity in our Colorado communities,” says Ceyl Prinster, president and CEO of Colorado Enterprise Fund.
 

Broker's buyer bonus: Helping to send a child to school in Uganda

Denver real estate broker Tenzin Gyaltsen is helping put Ugandan children through school one home sale at a time through a partnership with the S.O.U.L Foundation.

One child will be put through school for every home sale that’s over $300,000. It costs about $1,600 to put a child through all seven years of primary school.

“That gives them all of their school books and one meal per day,” said Gyaltsen, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Colorado. “It’s an added bonus to the house. It almost personifies it in a way.”

Gyaltsen, who formerly owned an eco-friendly clothing company, met representatives from S.O.U.L (Supporting Opportunities for Ugandans to Learn) at an event and fell in love with the organization. He had a desire to do something philanthropic, so he sponsored Rita Naigaga, the first of many students.

When he turned his attention to real estate he decided to expand his efforts by sponsoring a child with proceeds from every house he lists for more than $300,000.

Gyaltsen works with investors to buy houses, fix them up and resell them. When he has an upcoming listing he contacts S.O.U.L to pledge to sponsor a student, The organization then sends a child’s photo and bio, which will be framed and displayed in the house. If the new owners wish, the address of the newly sold home stays with the sponsorship, and all the letters and updates from the student are mailed to the house.

“Lack of education is one of the biggest problems in the world,” Gyaltsen said. “In this part of the world, most children don’t get an education. It’s important to equip children with knowledge so they can go out and better the world and their communities.”

The Bindery opens in LoHi

Chef Linda Hampsten Fox has opened The Bindery, a culinary concept modeled after European marketplaces where diners can shop for handcrafted products, grab a gourmet lunch to go or enjoy a chic fine dining experience all in one space.

Located in the recently opened Centric LoHi apartment complex in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood, The Bindery will offer options for breakfast lunch and dinner, seven days a week, as well as catering services.

“The Bindery is a culmination of everything I’ve done and provides the perfect platform to share my passion for the craft of cooking sustainable, local food rooted in my personal history and heritage,” says Hampsten Fox.

Hampsten Fox searched for years for a space large enough to accommodate the multifaceted experience. At just over 4,000 square feet, The Bindery welcomes visitors with a mix of modern style and old-world charm.

The marketplace, which surrounds the bakery/cafe, will offer a mix of seasonal products made in-house, including house Bindery Sriracha (referred to as Bindaracha), smoked maple syrup, cardamom pear butter and habanero tomato jam.

“Our customers lead busy lives, and they want options: to stay or go, be casual or be served, to snack or feast,” Hampsten Fox says. “Our goal is to provide them with convenient, high-quality choices.”

The main dining room focuses on meats and recipes borrowed from her Polish-Czech heritage, as well as the many years she spent cooking in Italy. The menu has a blend of shared plates, salads, homemade pastas and hearty main dishes.

“We hope to serve as a neighborhood hub where fresh food, bold flavors and exceptional service are our hallmarks,” Hampsten Fox says.

Business loan program for veterans created

The Colorado Enterprise Fund has created a program for Colorado veterans and Gold Star family members who are interested in starting or growing a small business in the state.

Veteran Access Loan Opportunity Resource (VALOR) will provide discounted loan rates and extended terms for military veterans who are unable to secure financing through traditional banks.

Any honorable discharged U.S. military veteran or Gold Star family member who is a Colorado resident is eligible to apply for a VALOR loan of up to $500,000. Recipients will receive a 2 percent discount from standard Colorado Enterprise Fund rates and an origination fee of 1.5 percent. The loan term would be for up to 10 years with an interest-only period of up to six months.

The loans can be used for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate.

For more information, contact Senior Loan Office Mike Jensen, a U.S. Army veteran, at (720) 473-4068 or at mike@coloradoenterprisefund.org.

Founded in 1976, the Colorado Enterprise Fund is a non-profit lending institution that specializes in loans for small businesses and startups statewide that are unable to secure traditional bank financing. To date, the organization has has made more than 2,000 loans totaling $63 million to small businesses.

The Bindery opens in LoHi

Chef Linda Hampsten Fox has opened The Bindery, a culinary concept modeled after European marketplaces where diners can shop for handcrafted products, grab a gourmet lunch to go or enjoy a chic fine dining experience all in one space.

Located in the recently opened Centric LoHi apartment complex in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood, The Bindery will offer options for breakfast lunch and dinner, seven days a week, as well as catering services.

“The Bindery is a culmination of everything I’ve done and provides the perfect platform to share my passion for the craft of cooking sustainable, local food rooted in my personal history and heritage,” says Hampsten Fox.

Hampsten Fox searched for years for a space large enough to accommodate the multifaceted experience. At just over 4,000 square feet, The Bindery welcomes visitors with a mix of modern style and old-world charm.

The marketplace, which surrounds the bakery/cafe, will offer a mix of seasonal products made in-house, including house Bindery Sriracha (referred to as Bindaracha), smoked maple syrup, cardamom pear butter and habanero tomato jam.

“Our customers lead busy lives, and they want options: to stay or go, be casual or be served, to snack or feast,” Hampsten Fox says. “Our goal is to provide them with convenient, high-quality choices.”

The main dining room focuses on meats and recipes borrowed from her Polish-Czech heritage, as well as the many years she spent cooking in Italy. The menu has a blend of shared plates, salads, homemade pastas and hearty main dishes.

“We hope to serve as a neighborhood hub where fresh food, bold flavors and exceptional service are our hallmarks,” Hampsten Fox says.

Riverfront plaza opens at Confluence Park



At long last, the new $9.3 million riverfront plaza at Confluence Park is finished.

The project stalled for more than a year after coal tar was discovered buried on the river’s west bank. Work restarted last December and wrapped up with the culmination of a ribbon cutting on Oct. 14.

The completion of Confluence Park marks the first project of Phase II of River Vision, the expanded plan to improve the South Platte River corridor and make it the premier outdoor recreation destination and environmental educational resource for the city and the state. Since 2012, multiple partner organizations have raised nearly $50 million toward the renovation of parks along the South Platte. Phase I of River Vision created more than 30 acres of new parkland and greenways, and Phase II will include four additional revitalization efforts north of Confluence Park.

“For our growing city, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities, and reclaiming the river has been vital in celebrating and cultivating new outdoor experiences for Denver residents,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “Phase I of the River Vision investment has already transformed the banks of the South Platte into a spectacular network of parks for residents to enjoy, and there are more great improvements to come.”

Phase I of River Vision broke ground in 2013 and wrapped up in the spring with the completion of Grant Frontier Park. It also included Johnson Habitat, Vanderbilt and Pasquinel’s Landing.

In addition to Shoemaker Plaza, Phase II will include:
  • Globeville Landing Park
  • Heron Pond/Northside Park Master Plan
  • River North (RiNo) Park
  • RiNo Promenade
The completely rebuilt Shoemaker Plaza is now ADA compliant and includes improved bicycle and pedestrian flow, increased river access and new gathering places meant to create a vibrant environment at Denver’s historic birthplace.
 

First residents move into Centric LoHi

The first residents of Centric LoHi have started moving into the 302-unit apartment complex at 18th Street and Central Avenue in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood.

Developed by Nashville-based Southern Land Co., Centric LoHi will broaden the mix of units available in the neighborhood, offering 42 studios, 50 efficiencies, 140 one-bedroom apartments and 70 two-bedroom units. Rents start at $1,480 a month.

“We're thrilled to be in the Denver market and to be able to showcase the commitment to high-quality development our company is known for,” says Cindy DeFrancesco, senior vice president of Southern Land. “Centric LoHi is the perfect community for residents who want upgraded amenities and easy access to all Denver has to offer.”

Amenities at the complex include a resort-style saltwater pool and hot tub, 24-hour fitness center and an on-site pet grooming salon. There are also courtyards, a club room, game room and wine lounge, as well as a rooftop deck overlooking downtown Denver.

The mixed-use community includes 9,300 square feet of restaurant space, including The Bindery, a new concept from local chef Linda Hampsten Fox, and Marcella’s, an upscale Italian cafe. Both are scheduled to open this fall.

The real numbers: Center city neighborhoods add housing, but is it affordable?

Denver is on track to meet a goal set in 2007 to add 18,000 housing units in the city center by 2027.

The center city has seen an increase of 10,000 residential units since 2010, and another nearly 9,000 are under construction, according to the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Center City Housing report.

Even so, the units added have not been enough to keep housing costs affordable for some residents and workers.

“The Downtown Denver Partnership has advanced a variety of solutions to stem the impact of rising housing costs, ad we are focused on addressing the need for diversity in housing type and affordability to meet the needs for downtown’s workforce,” says Tami Door, president and CEO of the partnership. “While our residential and employee populations are growing at unprecedented rates, we must ensure companies can continue to attract and retain the employees they need to be successful, and affordable housing is a key part of the equation.”

The partnership has led several strategic housing initiatives, including advocating for construction defects reform, working with developers to add a variety of unit types and endorsing the creation of the first affordable housing fund in the City and County of Denver. The partnership also played a key role in moving the LIVE Denver program forward.

Other insights from the report include:
  • Denver’s center city neighborhoods are home to 79,367 residents and 130,227 employees
  • Since 2010, the center city has added 15,877 new residents and 33,065 new jobs
  • Denver is the fourth fastest growing city in the United States, and the demand to live in the center city is high, with the residential population tripling since 2000
  • Capitol Hill is the most populous center city neighborhood with a population of 17,142 residents
  • The Central Platte Valley neighborhood adjacent to Denver Union Station experienced the highest percentage of population growth since 2010
  • The Central Platte Valley neighborhood also added the most new units since 2010, totaling 5,669 units completed or under construction, more than 3,800 more units than the next busiest neighborhood for development, River North.

The Record Company to headline holiday concert benefitting public schools

The Grammy Award-nominated Los Angeles band The Record Company is headlining the fourth annual Sing It To Me Santa concert Dec. 9 at the Ogden Theatre.

The concert will benefit music education in Denver Public Schools through the newly formed nonprofit organization Take Note Colorado.

“I am honored and proud to announce that Sing It To Me Santa will become a signature event under Take Note Colorado,” says Karen Radman, executive director of Take Note Colorado. “And, that net proceeds from Sing It To Me Santa 2017 will benefit music education in Denver Public Schools.”

The Record Company is a Los Angeles-based rock trio whose 2016 debut album was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Tickets for the show are available at www.axs.com. General admission tickets are $25-30, and VIP tickets are $250. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. For information on sponsorships for the show, contact Karen Radman at karen@takenotecolorado.org.

Denver-based vintage rock/funk/blues powerhouse Tracksuit Wedding will open the show, performing original new tracs from its just-released second album “Now or Never” — and some holiday favorites to celebrate the season. 

Take Note Colorado, chaired by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Isaac Slade of The Fray, is a new statewide initiative with a goal to provide access to musical instruments and instruction to all of Colorado’s K-12 students. Sing It To Me Santa is a benefit concert created in 2014 by Libby Anschutz.

Lash Boulevard opens in Highland

A new spa specializing in all things eyelashes has opened at 1204 W. 38th Ave.

Lash Boulevard was built with customization in mind and provides lash extensions, lash lifts, chemical peels, facials, oxygen treatments, spray tanning, waxing and acne treatment.

“We understand that every person’s skin is different, and we customize our approach based upon each client’s unique skin tone, texture and tolerance,” says Karen Martiz, owner of the spa. “We continually educate ourselves on the best products and practices in the industry to ensure we’re providing proven treatments that show noticeable improvements for each client.”

Certified as a lash extension instructor, Martiz has created her own product line to improve the lash extension application process.

In addition to basic lash and skin services, Lash Boulevard’s treatments go beyond that of a typical spa — particularly in the realm of skincare. The spa offers a glow on the go light chemical peel that doesn’t produce lasting redness, dermaplaning and microdermabrasion among others. The spa also is one of the only Denver-based providers of the Face Reality acne treatment program. Lash Boulevard also offers microblading — the art of creating realistic looking eyebrow hairs using a permanent makeup technique. 

Lash Boulevard’s new location is available for continuing education classes for lash technicians, bridal party packages and private parties. Beauty packages can be customized to fit each group’s needs.

Study will evaluate minority- and women-owned business program

The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) is launching a disparity study to guide future implementation of minority- and women-owned business programs in Denver. 

The study will measure whether minority- and women-owned contractors are being underutilized in city business, thereby providing a basis for the continuation of Denver’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program and related federal programs.

OED has retained BBC Research & Consulting to conduct the study to help evaluate the effectiveness of the local MWBE program and two federal programs: The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The study will examine the city’s procurement services and products, the subcontracting participation of contractors/service providers who do business with the city and anecdotal evidence collected from a cross-section of the local business community.

“With significant public investment projects on the horizon, and by staying true to our Denver values, this city will show how economic prosperity can bring everyone along,” says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We’re looking forward to taking a thorough, objective look at our inclusivity programs in order to bolster our approach and further level the playing field for Denver’s minority contracting community.”

To help inform the study, a series of public hearings will be held this fall: 
 
  • Oct. 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m., Eisenhower Recreation Center, 4300 E. Dartmouth Ave.
  • Oct. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
  • Oct. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Police Station-District One, 1311 W. 46th Ave.
  • Oct. 13, 9-11 a.m., Denver International Airport (tentative)

Comments and information can also be submitted to denverdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com. For more information visit denvergove.org/dsbo.
 
148 The Highlands Articles | Page: | Show All
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